Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sammy, Where Are You?

Sammy, Where Are You? An Unconventional Memoir...Sort Of, Ira Spector, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2014

This is a memoir of a person's life, but it is not the average memoir. Instead of separate chapters looking at each part of his life, this book is a bunch of related short stories chronicling his life.

Born in Depression-era Brooklyn, Spector did the usual teenage things. He frequently stayed out late at night, and once he locked the keys in his father's car a long way from home (there was no AAA in those days to unlock the car). As teenagers, he and a friend took a two-day bus trip to Miami, with the permission of his parents. They then hopped on a plane to pre-Castro Cuba to see the sights (including the local prostitutes).

In the early 1950's, Spector joined the Coast Guard, and was able to have his official file specify No Ship Duty (because of a lifelong tendency toward extreme seasickness). Becoming a pilot, one day he was flying in formation, when a small plane, unwittingly, flew right through their formation. Only some quick thinking by Spector prevented a mid-air catastrophe.

After the Coast Guard, Spector got married, and lived in Southern California. His wife, Suzi, was a commercial artist, so Spector was the Sales Department and assistant artist. The first bit of art he ever did in his life was a 24-foot long mural for a major department store. A married couple who were friends of theirs commissioned a large sculpture for their front yard. They approved the design ahead of time. It was about nine feet tall, white plaster over a metal framework, and with multiple arms. A picture of it is on the front cover of this book; it is the sort of thing that is guaranteed to get the neighbors talking. It was installed in place, and that night, the wife had a nightmare about it. The husband paid the agreed-upon fee, but requested its immediate removal. It took a long time before the sculpture, named Sammy, found a permanent home. Another piece looks at some of the employees the couple had, for their art business, and for their ill-fated attempt to own a pizza parlor (it eventually destroyed their marriage). Some of the people were decent and reasonable, but the majority could, charitably, be called jerks.

I really enjoyed reading these tales. There is a good mixture between humorous and serious. It is the sort of book that can be picked up and read at any point. This is very much worth reading.    

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